Learn why gut health is so important, what leaky gut is, how it leads to inflammation, and some all natural home remedies for leaky gut.
There’s a reason leaky gut syndrome is discussed so frequently. Having a healthy gut is essential for our health. It’s the first line of defense to our immune system. When you suffer from leaky gut, you may notice abdominal discomfort, food sensitivities or possibly a medical condition such as endometriosis, Chron’s disease, anxiety or more.
Having a healthy gut microbiome can make a big difference in the way we feel. There are home remedies for leaky gut, but while many believe it’s as simple as taking a probiotic supplement, there’s more to it.
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and we will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that We’ve linked to these products purely because we recommend them, and they are from companies we trust. There is no additional cost to you.
What is leaky gut?
Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that results from increased intestinal permeability. Antibodies can pass from your intestines into other parts of your body. This makes the body inflamed and causes a lot of uncomfortable symptoms, like chronic fatigue, eczema, and irritable bowel syndrome (to name a few).
When you suffer from leaky gut, the lining of the intestinal walls is compromised, allowing toxins, bad bacteria, yeast and other dangerous species to enter the body. This occurs when the usual movement of nutrients into the circulation and intestines is disrupted.
Inflammation and scarring in the intestines are the result of leaky gut. This weakens the intestinal lining and allows germs to thrive.
This can cause a range of issues, including increased stress hormone production, immunological malfunction, irregular bowel motions, chronic diseases and infertility. In a nutshell, the stomach is like a sponge, and anything we put in it filters through our bodies’ systems and is recycled back into our bodies.
Why is gut health so important?
The gut plays an important role in the development of a healthy immune system. It has millions of good bacteria that help the body digest food and make vitamins and nutrients.
Our gut has a direct connection to our brain via the gut-brain axis. Keeping our gut healthy can also help with our mood and mental health. There is even a hypothesis that suggests that poor gut health can trigger an immune response responsible for the neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s Disease
What are the symptoms of leaky gut?
- Joint pain – Joint pain is a common symptom of a leaky gut. A leaky gut can cause inflammation throughout the body, including in the joints.
- Bloating and abdominal pain – Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that occurs when the gaps between the cells of the intestinal wall (tight junctions) become larger than normal, allowing undigested food and microbes to pass into the bloodstream, which can lead to abdominal pain and bloating.
- Psoriasis and eczema
- Chronic fatigue
- Mental health conditions –Leaky gut can throw off the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, which can change mood and make anxiety disorders worse.
How to know if you have leaky gut?
You can visit your functional MD or find one online, like Parsley health. They can run testing which usually includes a stool test, blood work and possibly saliva tests.
Functional testing can often be expensive, and a more reasonable approach is to try some home remedies for leaky gut and see if they make an impact. Most are non-invasive and inexpensive to try.
What medical conditions are associated with leaky gut?
- Autoimmune diseases / chronic diseases – Leaky gut is one of the leading causes of autoimmune illnesses; it happens when the intestinal barrier is compromised, enabling toxins and microorganisms to enter the circulation. This leads the immune system to go into overdrive, leading to a range of illnesses.
- Celiac disease – Celiac disease may be associated with leaky gut as a result of damage to the intestinal lining.
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – When your gut is permeable, toxins and inflammatory substances can enter your bloodstream and cause an immune response. This can lead to symptoms of IBD such as pain, bleeding diarrhea, and weight loss.
- Crohn’s disease – A chronic inflammatory disorder of the large intestine that causes the large intestine to become inflamed. It is often accompanied by diarrhea and cramping.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – A functional disorder of the colon characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits.
What causes leaky gut?
Leaky gut is caused by the disruption of the tight junctions between the cells that line the intestines. There are several factors that can contribute to leaky gut.
Some common causes of leaky gut include:
Taking antibiotics – Antibiotics are used to eliminate harmful bacteria from the body. However, they also eliminate the good bacteria known to aid in the maintenance of a healthy digestive system, which can lead to leaky gut syndrome.
Chronic stress – Chronic stress causes the body to release cortisol, and activate the HPA axis, releasing adrenaline and noradrenaline. Over time, this can weaken the gut and make it more permeable, allowing bacteria and other toxins to pass through the gut lining into the bloodstream.
Lack of quality sleep – One of the most important functions of sleep is to repair your gut. If you don’t get enough sleep, your gut won’t be able to heal properly, which can lead to leaky gut.
Regular alcohol consumption – If you are drinking alcohol regularly or binge drinking occasionally, you are likely to have a leaky gut. This is because alcohol consumption is toxic to the digestive tract, which can cause inflammation and damage to the intestinal lining.
Unhealed past trauma – Having unresolved past trauma can cause stress that you may not even realize. Healing past traumas can help lift stress, which helps to heal the gut.
Home Remedies for Leaky Gut
It’s important to note that leaky gut is not a root cause of your illness. It’s a symptom. Healing leaky gut starts with addressing the issues causing leaky gut.
The first step is to evaluate how you are doing in your mind, body and soul. Journaling can be a great start. It may seem a bit woo to dive into these areas when you are trying to heal your gut, but it’s important not to ignore these areas.
Check in with yourself regularly and ask yourself the following:
- Am I getting quality sleep every night?
- What are the thoughts that run through my mind daily?
- How is my diet? How much processed foods are being consumed daily?
- What is my daily stress level?
- Do I feel joy and purpose in my daily life?
Talk to a therapist or health coach. If therapy hasn’t worked for you in the past, speaking with a coach who specializes in past trauma healing and neuroplasticity may be a great option.
Minimize stress– Stress activates the HPA axis, which activates the adrenal glands to produce hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. Adrenaline and noradrenaline suppress the growth of important probiotic species and increase pathogenic (bad) bacteria. This causes the gut microbiome to get out of balance.
Heal past trauma – If you’ve undergone trauma, you may have stress inside of you that you don’t realize is there. Talk to a health coach or therapist who can help you work through past trauma.
Prioritize sleep – Sleep is one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy gut. Without adequate sleep, your immune system has a harder time fighting off illness, and the body’s internal processes are less efficient.
Eat nutritious foods – By eating healthy foods rich in fiber, you can help to reduce the risk of developing leaky gut. Additionally, drinking plenty of water can also help to flush toxins from the system.
Foods that have been fermented are rich in probiotics, which are the good bacteria that help to keep the digestive tract healthy. When these bacteria are present in sufficient numbers, they help to break down foods and prevent them from causing damage to the intestinal lining.
High fiber foods, known as prebiotics, are an important part of a healthy diet. Fiber is essential for digestion and can help to keep things moving along in the digestive tract.
Prebiotics are foods or supplements that promote the growth of good bacteria, by feeding it. They can be a great treatment for leaky gut syndrome.
Healthy fats are essential for maintaining a healthy gut. The right types of fat can protect against leaky gut by keeping the gut barrier strong and healthy.
Food sensitivities and food allergies – Food sensitivities and food allergies are common with leaky gut. People with food sensitivities often experience digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea, and cramping after consuming certain foods.
One of the best things you can do is to eliminate gluten and dairy from your diet. Gluten and dairy can both cause an immune response in your gut which leads to inflammation.
Supplements That May Help Heal Leaky Gut
There is much more to healing your gut than taking supplements (see list above), but there are some supplements that can be taken while working on those listed above.
- Probiotics – Probiotics are live microorganisms that may help heal a leaky gut by reducing inflammation and promoting the growth of healthy bacteria.
- Prebiotics – Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotic bacteria in the gut. With the right number of probiotic bacteria, the lining of your gut can stay healthy and protect you from toxins, allergens, and other harmful substances.
- Fish oil – Fish oil can be an effective remedy for leaky gut syndrome. It has been shown that taking fish oil can help to reduce the bad bacteria and increase the good bacteria as well as keep the intestinal walls intact.
- Digestive enzymes – Digestive enzymes help to break down food. When the digestive system doesn’t break down food properly, it can lead to a leaky gut where undigested food particles are able to pass through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream.
- L-Glutamine – L-Glutamine was previously thought of as one of the non-essential amino acids. In the last 10 years, it has been found to be responsible for protecting the gut from injury and stressors. Studies have shown it can help reduce the effects of intestinal permeability.
Your gut aids in the absorption of nutrients from your diet and provides messages to your brain to control your appetite, sleep, and other functions. External factors, such as a high-processed-food diet or toxins, might also impact your gut’s sensitivity to changes.
If you’re not careful, you can have nutritional cognitive fog, digestive problems, a weakened immune system, and even a higher chance of cancer. If you see any of these signs, you may have a leaky gut and should seek medical attention. A healthy gut is a cornerstone of a healthy body. You can’t have one without the other.
Healing a leaky gut can help reduce chronic inflammation and give you better overall health.
To recap, here are the six home remedies for leaky gut you can get started on right away:
- Eat plenty of nutritious foods, including healthy fats, proteins, carbohydrates and plenty of fruits and vegetables to get plenty of prebiotic fiber and polyphenols. For help incorporating healthy foods into your diet, see our post with tips on how to build the perfect healthy smoothie.
- If you are or suspect you may have food sensitivities, stop eating foods you are sensitive to. A great place to start if you are unsure, is to eliminate gluten and dairy for two weeks and see how you feel.
- Work on stress management and healing past traumas, which could be causing underlying stress. Talk to a therapist or health coach if you need a guide. Check out How to Reduce Stress with Mindfulness and Meditation for more actionable stress reduction tips.
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep every night. Managing stress and diet can help with quality sleep.
- Eat lots of probiotic rich foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yogurt and Kiefer.
- Take a probiotic supplement. We recommend Just Thrive Probiotic, which is clinically proven to start to address Leaky Gut in just 30 days (easier to read breakdown of the study here), doesn’t require refrigeration, has a high survivability rate (will 100% alive in your gut for maximum impact), is Paleo, Keto and vegan-friendly, non GMO, and free of soy, dairy, sugar, salt, corn, nuts, and gluten. Use code wellnesstrickle for 15% off.